Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: St Peters, Missouri
Bikes: Rans Rockst (Retro rocket) Rans Enduro Sport (Retro racket) Catrike 559, Merin Bear Valley (beater bike).
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Sheldon Brown has a chart on his website that suggests tire widths vs. rim width.
You'll feel the biggest difference, regardless of width, just by getting rid of the knobs.
Practically, there are a number of tire widths that will fit those rims. The general rule is that narrower tires require more air pressure which makes them a tiny bit faster rolling but at the cost of ride comfort.
Esthetically, tires that are narrower than about 1 1/2" start to look, at least to me, out of porportion and goofy on a mountain bike.